Nike Backs Down in Dispute with England Goalkeeper Mary Earps
In a long-standing disagreement between Nike and England goalkeeper Mary Earps, the sportswear giant has finally conceded defeat. Earps, who gained recognition during the 2023 Women’s World Cup, has been locked in a heated battle with Nike over the brand’s decision not to sell replica goalkeeper shirts for the tournament. This controversial move left fans unable to purchase Earps’ kit during England’s journey to the final. Despite Nike’s initial argument that goalkeeper kits do not sell well, they have now reversed their stance.
Limited quantities of the goalkeeper shirts will now be made available for retail, according to The New York Times. This decision comes after the feud between Earps and Nike reignited recently. Earps expressed her frustration with the brand on social media after they released a supposed apology. Nike issued a statement addressing the debate, emphasizing their commitment to women’s football and their excitement about the tournament. They acknowledged the desire for a retail version of the goalkeeper jersey and pledged to work on finding solutions for future tournaments in collaboration with FIFA and the football federations.
However, Earps was not satisfied with Nike’s response. She voiced her disappointment that her family and friends were unable to purchase her shirt, causing them to resort to wearing regular clothes instead. Earps highlighted the message this sends to goalkeepers worldwide, stating that it implies they are not important. She revealed that she had been working behind the scenes with the Football Association and Nike in an attempt to find a resolution.
Fans, too, were left disappointed as they were unable to purchase Earps’ shirt, despite her outstanding performance in the final, where she won the Golden Glove and saved a penalty. Even Earps’ own parents had to wear match-worn jerseys to show their support. In response to Nike’s stance, Earps’ clothing line released t-shirts for her fans, and they quickly sold out. In a further dig at Nike, another company produced an “100% unofficial” shirt featuring the England badge alongside Earps’ name and number, replacing the Nike logo with the words “Just did it.”
The resolution of this dispute marks a win for Earps and showcases the dedication and energy surrounding women’s football. Nike’s reversal highlights the influence and importance of goalkeepers in the game. As the sport continues to grow, it is crucial for brands and organizations to support and recognize the contributions of all players, regardless of their position on the field.